Tuesday, October 04, 2005

It Came From Netflix! Long Weekend

My notes on this will be brief, as it’s one of those films that can’t be discussed much without diminishing it for potential viewers. Basically, Long Weekend is a standard ‘70s eco-horror flick. Except for the fact that it doesn’t suck. In fact, it’s pretty damn good. I’d never heard of the film before, so here’s another one to mark up for DVD.

The films it most reminded me of were Frogs (one of those ‘suck’ movies I was talking about) and the recent Open Water. An Australian couple heads to a remote beach for a weekend camping holiday. Their marriage, we soon see, is in severe straits. Eventually we learn why, and the reasons do have thematic relevance to their larger situation. However, the important point is that the film very ably captures a relationship swinging between occasionally flaring but ultimately dying love and a pervasively growing hate.

As with Frogs (and the even lamer Day of the Animals), this is a Nature’s Revenge film. The couple both individually commit various acts of environmental depravation, and its definitely to the film’s advantage that none of these are in any way outsized: Tossing empty bottles and trash around; a profligate use of bug spray; shooting or even just disturbing the peace of animals. The editing makes it clear that Nature is tiring of Man’s self-importance, and there’s a background thread indicating that the phenomenon isn’t localized.

With only two main characters, this can’t be a body count movie (like Frogs, etc.). Instead, it’s the sort of film interested in establishing a feeling of sustained, profound dread. Caught up in their own personal travails, and each pursuing their own agendas, neither husband nor wife is able to pick up on the increasingly obvious clues that their presence isn’t wanted. When either is on the verge of doing so, the other generally attempts to use this moment to their own advantage, and thus their focus is spitefully returned to each other rather than their increasingly hostile surroundings.

There is a nice irony involved in how they eventually end up, and I’d like to go into that more, but again don’t want to risk diminishing a film I strongly recommend people hunt down and watch. Tech credits are good all around, with decent direction, extremely good acting from the two leads, and especially the editing and sound work used to make the proceedings quite creepy.


At 11:36 AM, Blogger baby copernicus said...

LONG WEEKEND is from Synapse, and the films from Synapse are currently on sale at Deep Discount DVD.

LONG WEEKEND costs about ten bucks, and they don't charge shipping.

At 1:22 PM, Blogger Zack Handlen said...

Coolness- I just put it on my Queue.

At 6:31 AM, Blogger Ken Begg said...

Zack -- Let us know what you think.


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